Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Man’s Overconfidence is Deadlier than Anything Else

Article written by:
Jurmane Lallana
Author: Jurmane Lallana
Jurmane is a comic book geek, movie aficionado, feature writer and bathroom singer. He is often mistaken for a giant teddy bear roaming around the metro.

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*some spoilers included*

Ever think that if you’re attacked by an aggressive ape, throwing a banana can distract it? Think again.

In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, in an effort to cure Alzheimer’s disease, Will Rodman (James Franco) and the company he works for develop a drug that greatly enhances the intelligence of apes, paving the way for a world run by them.

The thing with prequels is you generally know how it’s going to end. That is why it’s a prequel – it sets up the stage for the events which occur in the previous movie. What matters here then is the presentation of the story, and Rupert Wyatt was successful in that aspect. We gradually see how Caesar grows from a smart baby ape to an independent leader of his kind. All in all, the movie was far from boring. Although the first part of the film might be a bit dragging for those who do not like all talk, the second part has enough action (not mindless violence) to make up for it. The special effects were done well. It was such a treat to watch the showdown between humans and apes in great detail.

What is likeable about this science fiction feature is that it does not go far from our planet to show us one what-if doomsday scenario. We don’t have to look for an alien invasion because they are already here living among us – APES. It takes the general idea that apes are smarter than your normal animal and transforms them into a force to be reckoned with.  The film makes us shudder to think if such a thing is really scientifically plausible.   

I have neither watched Planet of the Apes (2001) nor the original so I cannot compare them. Nevertheless, I believe that Rise of the Planet of the Apes is simply rich with meaning. It tackles the need for equality and treating each other with respect, being free and belonging, and the difference between asking permission and taking the initiative. In a way, apes are shown to possess more humane qualities than the people around them; these creatures are aware of what’s going on while men try to shoot at anything they don’t understand. Throughout the film, we realize that the apes’ taking over is just a product of people’s desire for more. Man’s overconfidence is, without a doubt, deadlier than anything else and is, in fact, the real enemy.

On another note, the movie is further proof that fictional pharmaceutical companies doing experiments mean BAD things are going to happen. One minute it’s your neighbor, then, next it’s you.  

James Franco, aside from possibly playing the most handsome scientist in Hollywood history, has once again proven that he has the skills to play just about any type of character. Although Rise centers on the presence of the apes, he carries this film with ease. Freida Pinto of Slumdog Millionaire fame plays Franco’s girlfriend and veterinarian, Caroline Aranha. I expected her character to have a more significant part but she was mainly there to flesh out the relationship of Franco and his ape friend. David Oyelowo’s character Jacobs is shaky – at first, he seems concerned about the safety of the tests, and then he suddenly forgets all about protocol. Of course, Andy Serkis deserves praise for yet another memorable performance. Forget about Gollum; everyone who watches this film will remember the amazing ape that is Caesar.

The title of the film bothers me the most though. It’s too long, and they should have just made it “Rise of the Apes” and people would have still understood the connection. Well, there you have it. If one can’t think of anything else to dislike except the title, then it must have been one hell of an experience watching Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It was.

   

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